The Good Food Co-Op: Making healthy fruit and veg accessible for all

Video: Ellie Ng

The Good Food Co-Op is a newly launched initiative, led by Kingston charity Voices of Hope and KingsGate church, aimed at making healthy fruit and veg accessible for all.

Driven by the issue of food insecurity that coronavirus either exacerbated or brought to light, every box purchased by Kingston residents has subsidised a box of fresh fruit and/or veg for local individuals and families in need.  

“We were very aware that a lot of families, a lot of individuals were increasingly struggling with financial difficulty,” said Sarah Clay, director of Voices of Hope.

“So it wasn’t just an issue of having access to emergency food but of actually needing a system whereby we could help support, help subsidise access to healthy food.”

The initiative has championed local, spray-free and ethically sourced produce.

The first boxing

The first boxing of full price orders took place on November 19 and saw five volunteers packing 42 orders of fresh fruit and veg from 8am. 

“I think the best thing about this is that our motto is really ‘by the community, for the community’,” said Nick Dawson, operations lead for the initiative, who was packing that morning.

“So it’s great knowing that for every one of these [boxes] which customers are buying, somebody who can’t afford this is going to get the benefit of a heavily subsidised box going back to them.”

Once the boxes were sealed, they were driven to local pick-up hubs or delivered directly by volunteers.

Community at the heart of the project

From boxing up fruit and veg to writing recipe cards to transporting the orders, the Co-Op has been supported by a breadth of contribution that truly puts community at the heart of the project.

“It’s recognising that money isn’t the only thing you can give…it’s finding ways people can contribute and not expecting those to all be the same thing,” Clay said.

Clay has expressed hopes that the initiative will eventually be self-sustaining and continue to tackle issues of food insecurity within the community that were present before, and will continue to exist after, Covid-19.

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